The 7 Best Swing Sets
7. Swing-N-Slide Orbiter
- 5-year warranty on posts
- fully-illustrated instructions
- the predrilled holes are very small
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Jump Power UFO
- easy to assemble
- uv-resistant and waterproof
- kids may get bored of it quickly
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
5. Little Tikes Clubhouse
- accessible from 2 sides
- slide has safety handrails
- it's pretty expensive
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Step2 Play Up Jungle Gym
- improves balance and coordination
- made in the usa
- comes with 4 u-shaped anchors
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
3. Lifetime Big Stuff Adventure
- sturdy polyethylene construction
- ideal for ages 3-12
- swing chains have soft rubber grips
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Skywalker Sports Jungle Gym
- rust-resistant powder-coated finish
- no-pinch joint covers
- supports up to 7 kids at once
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Backyard Discovery Skyfort II
- sun balcony with crow's nest
- 10-foot wavy slide
- solid rock climbing wall
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
If You Build It, They Will Come
Many years ago, in what seems like a former life, I spent a mild summer assembling children's outdoor play sets with a husband and wife tandem. We also spent some days putting together large quantities of IKEA furniture for offices. Though the work was steady, relatively easy, and it paid decently, it was still a rather tedious and time-consuming experience. On average, it would take the three of us nearly eight to ten hours just to get everything assembled and ready to go. This did not include the time spent leveling out the ground, which is absolutely necessary in order to successfully build one of these big play sets.
If you own a few good tools and you have a history of not losing your mind when trying to assemble furniture, then you can probably put one of these sets together yourself if you don't choose to enlist the help of some friends.
If you don't have the tools or you don't know how to use them, and if your friends are flaky in times like these, save yourself a week of agony and spring for a professional assembly.
A Good Fit For Your Kids
A person's individual sense of aesthetics is bound to recoil at the sight of any play set that crosses the line from point of pride to monstrosity. Where that line is drawn may differ, depending on one's individual preferences. If you have acres of land on which to build, then your line might be drawn closer to something the size of Camelot than to the size of a milk crate, for example.
One must also consider a play set's overall durability. Most of the more elaborate sets are made of wood, where the lasting power of some woods is greater than others. By contrast, the plastic sets vary wildly in quality, but if you see that they're made from High-Density Polyethylene, you can expect a quality build.
Without too many exceptions, the size and durability of a play set are the primary factors in determining its cost, so if you have a specific budget in mind, much of the selection process will have already been done for you.
Finally, you'll want something that fits both your backyard and bank account. Once you've narrowed it down by those criteria, you can let your kids decide, as they're going to be the ones taking advantage of the equipment, after all.
Centuries of Swing
As far back as 1450 B.C.E., we know there were swings, during the ancient Greek era known as Hagia Triada.
The swing's long history would make sense, as there is something pleasing and fulfilling at an almost primal level to the human psyche when it comes to flying forward and upward right up until the very point where you feel you might lose control.
Swings were later used in more portable ways, particularly during the pioneer days of Manifest Destiny. When a caravan would stop to set up camp or hunt, the children were allowed to play, but they were discouraged from roaming too far. To encourage play, parents would take a solid piece of wood along with some rope, find a suitable tree, and set up an impromptu swing set. When they left, they would take it down and bring it with them for the next layover.
The belt swings of today, whose rubber or petroleum-based seats contour more comfortably to swingers' bodies, are safer and more durable than their wooden predecessors, and, depending on the chain used, can support hundreds of pounds.